Photo by Bruce Lee Smith Rigoberto Gonzalez poses in front of some of his paintings
Barocco en la Frontera” contains more than two dozen of Gonzalez’s drawings and paintings. Several of them are nude figure studies and three have full frontal nudity. It is those three that have caused the controversy. Joel Humphries, director of Arts and Entertainment for the city, said it was all a case of bad timing.
In the museum’s other gallery is “Taking Flight: A History of Kites.” Humphries said hundreds of local school children are scheduled to tour the exhibit within the next month. “We didn’t want some child wandering in there, supervised or not supervised … and then the next thing you know we have upset parents calling city commissioners,” Humphries said.
Gabriel Gonzalez, the city official, said he originally wanted to display the three works in question in a separate room with a closed door. Rigoberto Gonzalez said the city official first wanted the paintings removed entirely or put in a separate room where people were required to sign in before viewing them.
The compromise reached was that the doors to the gallery would remain closed and display a warning sign about the content. Patricia Morales, museum coordinator for HAHM, said the works are executed in a classical style and are hardly obscene. “I’m very proud that we’re exhibiting them,” she said. “They’re very beautiful.”
What is interesting about this situation is that there has been no outcry about the violent pieces including decapitations. surely, if the museum was truly concerned about children seeing images that may scar them the violent images would be at the top of the list? but no, as usual everyone is afraid that the mere sight of a nude body will send children off the deep end. or is it just that our society is now so warped that something natural that we all have is more shameful and disgusting than the violence surrounding us.
Gonzalez’s works are inspired by baroque style and he cites art history as a source of bloody and violent works. Classically, violence, often inspired by biblical stories, was a favorite subject, nudes and the female form were almost as prevalent. It seems a real shame that these pieces are now behind closed doors, I had a chance to see some of his works on this youtube video and they look stunning. very much in the style of the masters (and some of my favorite artists) and I venture that this exhibition might be educational to kids as it explores the underworld and the way drug deals can go wrong. Gonzalez is a teacher and judging by the comments on his youtube, his students are aware of his works and not particularly scarred by them. when did we start feeling a need to shield kids from reality?